Thank you for this website, this forum, and your assiduous, generous, and unceasingly-gentle attention to this thread. It is a joy to experience your enthusiasm!
1) In the first place, I have a very basic question: I intend to assemble the July HTPC build (minus the SSD), using SilverStone GD05, but I have not put together a computer since the late 90s when I took apart and reconfigured my Gateway 2000 486sx/33. I don't even know the difference between ITX and other motherboard types. Is there a site where I could get step-by-step instructions on which cable connects to which item, when to do it, and where to screw them all into the case? I am a quick learner but left Engineering for the Humanities and have been out of the game for some time.
2) I'm trying to do this on the cheap, so I'm skipping the SSD and will try to make it also without a WiFi card, using a USB WiFi dongle instead. If this fails, I'll try to rewire my walls a bit to get my DSL modem closer to the unit for a wired connection. If, in the end, I *did* require the WiFi card, would I have to disassemble the whole HTPC to install it, or would it simply be a matter of inserting a new card on top of everything else in the case?
All the best!
Welcome to The TBG Forum, bF22!
I'm glad you appreciate my enthusiasm for helping PC builders. It was born of my desire to create a place where anyone could ask any tech-related question and not get berated for not already knowing the answer!
So, in that vein, here are the answers to your two excellent questions, along with an answer to another question you didn't exactly ask, about SSDs!
1) Building Help: In terms of a step-by-step guide, you might find TBG's Guide to Assembling a Basic PC
helpful. Appropriately enough, it covers a lot, if not quite all, of the basics. Check it out and if you still have questions, post them here!
2) SSD: Are you suggesting using only a hard drive and no SSD? Well, I'm obligated to tell you that SSDs really do make a PC much more responsive, and quieter too. Do you have very large media storage requirements? If so, you could always get a small SSD for your OS and a larger one for your media. Quality SSDs, such as this PNY CS1311 model
, can be had for as little as $40 nowadays, and are a very good investment. Of course, as I suggested to the forum-goer above, 240GB and 480GB models are a better deal in terms of capacity per dollar, but if you have a strict budget, there's nothing at all wrong with a 120GB model, and I think you will find the $40 to be well spent in the long run. Windows 10 makes it very easy to set up your Documents, Music, Pictures, and Video storage on a separate drive, for example the Western Digital Blue 2TB Hard Drive
. All in, the storage system is just $110, and will provide great speed and flexibility.
3) WiFi: You can absolutely use a USB dongle for WiFi. In fact, most of TBG's test systems use USB WiFi adapters rather than add-in PCIe cards. It does mean you have to watch out for walking into the dongle accidentally (yes, I've done that, and the results weren't pretty!). But performance is excellent, and they are typically cheaper. Just avoid the ultra-small adapters, which look really cute but simply don't work well. If you're in the market for a new adapter, this Netgear AC1200 model
is currently on sale at an exceptional price. I'm almost tempted to get one as a spare! I've been using the Netgear AC1200 Beamforming
model for over a year, and have been extremely impressed with it. If you wanted, you could use an internal model, and it would only require opening the case and inserting the PCIe-based card. You don't actually have to disassemble anything to add it later on.